Cyber Essentials: Certification Process and Benefits

Written by Julie Watling

March 21, 2024

Navigating Cyber Essentials

In today’s digital age, Cybersecurity is of paramount importance. With the rise of cyber threats, protecting your organisation’s digital assets is no longer ‘nice to have,’ it is critical. Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme designed to ensure that companies of all sizes, can demonstrate through certification, that they are adhering to cyber security best practice.  

Communications Solutions UK can assess your compliance. Contact us for a free consultation on how we can secure your business and ensure that you can be certified. 

This article will explore the program, the certification process, its benefits, and critical considerations for businesses looking to enhance their cybersecurity posture. 

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a robust cybersecurity certification program that is backed by the UK government. Cyber Essentials equips you with the necessary tools and knowledge to thwart cyber-attacks effectively. 

There are two levels of certification:

  1. Cyber Essentials: This is a self-assessment questionnaire that will be reviewed online. It demonstrates that you have taken steps to combat cyber-attacks. This certification is a basic requirement if you want to bid for any UK Government contracts.
  2. Cyber Essentials Plus: This is an enhanced version of Cyber Essentials that requires a hands-on technical verification and vulnerability testing by an independent assessor. This ensures that your organisation is protected from hacking and phishing attacks.

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What are Cyber Essentials Benefits?

This certification is for organisations looking to bolster their cybersecurity posture. Certification demonstrates to their clients, employees and stakeholders that they are serious about safeguarding their business and personal data.  

Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider to get certified:

  • Safeguarding your Business’s Finances, Data and Reputation. A cyber-attack can cause irreparable damage to a company’s business, impacting client confidence and damaging your bottom-line. Cyber Essentials equips your organisation with the tools and controls to defend against common cyber threats. Once these controls are in place you are much less likely to fall victim to attacks.
  • Competitive Advantage. This certification will differentiate you from your competitors. According to The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022, only 6% of UK businesses hold Cyber Essentials certification, and only 1% have achieved Cyber Essentials Plus. By displaying the official kitemark, you are demonstrating your professionalism and commitment to keeping personal and business data secure.
  • Cost-Effective. It is recognised by insurers as a scheme contributing to business security and mitigating risk. For this reason certified businesses frequently see cost savings on their cyber insurance premiums.
  • Legal Consideration. While not a legal requirement in all cases, some market sectors mandate the  certification for suppliers. Complying with this requirement can be a business necessity. 
Ready to Join the Cyber Essentials List?

Cyber Essentials Requirements 

To achieve the certification, organisations must meet specific requirements  covering the following: 

  • Firewalls: Install firewalls on devices with internet connectivity to create a buffer zone between your network and external threats. 
  • Secure Configuration: Ensure that devices and software are securely configured to minimize vulnerabilities. 
  • User Access Controls: Manage user accounts, especially those with special access privileges, to prevent misuse and unauthorized access. 
  • Security Update Management: Keep operating systems and devices up to date by applying security updates. 
  • Malware Management: Install malware protection on all devices with internet connectivity to safeguard against malicious software. 

Ready to Secure Your Business? Contact Us: Contact Communications Solutions UK to discuss how we can help you obtain Cyber Essentials certification and safeguard your organisation against cyber threats now. 

How to get Certified?

Cyber Essentials certification is a straightforward process. These are the basic steps: 

  1. Define the scope of certification. 
  2. Complete a questionnaire (SAQ) related to your organisation’s security processes, policies, and controls. 
  3. Undergo a technical assessment for Cyber Essentials Plus, which includes internal vulnerability scans. 
  4. Conduct an external vulnerability scan of internet-facing networks and applications. 
  5. Obtain your Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus certificate, demonstrating your commitment to Cybersecurity. 
Cyber Essentials equips you with the necessary tools and knowledge to thwart cyber-attacks effectively.

How much does it Cost?

The cost of certification will vary depending on your organisation’s complexity and size, how much assistance you need to meet the requisite compliance standards and which level of certification you want. We offer different service levels tailored to complement and support your in-house IT expertise. Prices start from £600. Contact us for a free consultation and quote.  

Is Cyber Essentials a Legal Requirement?  

No, it is not currently a legal requirement. However, some specific market and government sectors do mandate it as a condition for doing business with them.

How Long does the Certification Take? 

The first time you go through the certification process, is likely to be the most challenging. How long it will take will be highly dependent on your current cyber awareness and controls. If you are a company already using best practice standards, the process is likely to be quick.  

How Long does the Certificate last? 

Both types of certifications last for 12-months. You then need to renew them to maintain your certification. This provides an annual audit opportunity to ensure that best practice is always maintained. 

Cyber Essentials List 

Join the growing list of organisations that have achieved Cyber Essentials certification.  This certification is a valuable tool for organisations of all sizes to safeguard their digital assets in the battle against cyber threats. 

Ready to Join the Cyber Essentials List? Contact Us: Be part of the community of organisations dedicated to cybersecurity excellence. Reach out to Communications Solutions UK to kickstart your journey towards Cyber Essentials certification. 

GET IN TOUCH!

We want to hear about your challenges. Talk to us! Our consultants can audit your systems, plan changes, implement improvements and support your people. 

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